We made this dish on a seriously stormy (typical) Auckland day.
It was my Grandfathers 88th birthday celebration so a lasagne was the perfect idea for a big family like mine.
Making the rich tomato sauce and cheese sauce from scratch does take some time, but it well worth it for the taste! Do the mahi, get the treats.
The finished lasagne mm
For the hidden layer of pumpkin
2 chicken breasts (or a packet of chicken thighs)
Quarter of a pumpkin, chopped up
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup tomato paste
1 ½ cups chicken stock – I made mine with the stock cubes
2 x 400g canned tomatoes
3 tsp rosemary or other herbs
1 x 400g packet lasagna sheets – I used the fresh ones
Cheese sauce – you can use a tin of bechamel sauce if you are looking for the easy way!
½ cup flour
3 ½ cups milk
1 cup cheese
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Put chicken breasts and pumpkin on a tray and cover with olive oil. Bake in the oven until chicken is cooked and pumpkin is soft (approx 25-30 mins).
While they are cooking in the oven start the tomato sauce. Cook onion until soft and then add the garlic. Toss in the tomato paste, chicken stock, cans of tomatoes and the herbs. Let it cook for the as long as it takes the pumpkin to cook. It should thicken up as it cooks.
Once the chicken is cooked shred and place in the tomato sauce with the spinach. Mash the pumpkin by itself on the side.
To make the cheese sauce melt the butter over a low heat and add the flour. Once the butter has melted and the flour is mixed it take your pot off the head and slowly add in milk while whisking. This is where it is great to have a best friend or helper in the kitchen (thanks shan!). Put the milk and flour mixture back on the heat and let it thicken up a bit. Once it thickens up stir through your cheese and try not to eat it all from the pot.
Next is the fun part, layer it all in your dish. I put the tomato sauce, cheese, pasta, then the mashed pumpkin and repeated the layers once more. Add heaps of cheese on the top.
Bake for 35 minutes then enjoy!